Date: May 20, 2012
Day number: 69
Wake info: 0640h @ Pass Mtn Hut
Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 936.9 mile @ 0856h at Pass Mtn Hut
Pain scale AM (1-10): 4
Happiness scale AM (1-10): 8
Hunger scale AM (1-10): 3
Start weather: Clear, 60s, calm, beautiful
End MM & TOD: 956.8 mile @ 1945h near Compton Peak
Approximate miles covered today: 20.7 miles
Pain scale PM (1-10): 3
Happiness scale PM (1-10): 7
Hunger scale PM (1-10): 2
End weather: Sunny and warm (70s). However it rapidly turned cloudy, windy, and cool (50s-60s). Rain is on the way. Yeah!
Resting time: 3:58
Bedtime: In hammock at 2110h to journal. Asleep @ 2200.
Where slept: In hammock near Compton Peak
Money spent: $3.20 (snacks and breakfast)
Resupply: Yes (Breakfast. I'm eating more than is in my resupply box.)
Trail conditions: mostly rocky, but not the kinds of rocks that really slow one down
Issues with Equipment and Clothing:
Liters of water consumed: 10.5 Liters
Approx fuel burn time: 15 minutes
Approx. pack weight: 30 lbs
Number of river fords: 0
Number of paved road X-ings: 6
Number of road miles: 3.5 (my final road walk on Skyline Drive)
Number of named mountain summits: 4
Number of mountain summits: 4
Number of wrong turns: 0
Number of times I stubbed a toe: 13
Number of times I've fallen: 0
Number of bugs swallowed: 0
Number and location of showers: 0
Songs playing in my head:
- Coming Up - Paul McCartney & Wings
- Bard Dance - Enya
- Rolling in the Deep - Adele
- 25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago
- Lay Lady Lay - Bob Dylan
Happenings at home: The kids and Kathleen watched a documentary comparing meat-based and vegetable-based diets. I forsee a change in my eating habits on the horizon!
Companions (Assume thru-hikers unless noted SH for Section Hiker or DH for Day Hiker): I hiked alone but ran into Blue & Maine-iac, SID & Swithcback, Johansen, and Scout throughout the day. Scout and I camped together near the Compton Peak.
Trail Magic: None
Flora: Nothing unusual. Some mountain laurels are still in bloom.
Fauna: Two bears. One just north of Elkwallow Wayside and one at the base of Compton Mtn. (That makes seven bears that I've seen so far. I've interacted with at least ten.) Also saw a funny looking bird on the ground today. It had the body of a chicken, the neck of a goose, and legs like a roadrunner.
Vistas: Several overlooks and a couple of views on the Marshall Mountains.
Attractions: The Elkwallow Wayside store and picnic area was nice.
State of body: I am realizing with my increased mileage and speed that my body needs more calories. When I pulled into the Wayside I was spent. So I cooked some couscous and bought some inexpensive high-calorie, high-fat snacks ate like a glutton. The additional food gave me the energy I needed to continue and the rest of the day was fine. My left knee is really bothering me; I assume it is my arthritis, for after I get going I feel fine but if I stop the pain resurfaces. My feet are also sore and stiff, especially on the balls and toes. My heels are getting some hot spots, so I'm making sure to apply Hydropel.
State of mind: I've got a positive attitude and am dead-set on making it to Harpers Ferry by Wednesday - two days before Kathleen thinks she is going to have to drive down to get me. My former student, Molly, can get me and actually drive me to DC where I can hop a bus or train to Philly. This is working out beautifully!
- It was a warm evening last night. The first one in at least four days.
- It was an uneventful but good day today. The Trail seemed easy, but yet I am very tired. I've done a number of 20-mile days and that is taking a toll on my body. I hope I can keep up the pace, for I'd really like to make to Harpers Ferry by Wednesday so I can surprise my family.
- I walked along Skyline Drive between mile marker 19.7 & 18.8 and between 15.9 & 14.2 just for the views and to get a change of pace.
- Cell phone service has been terrible today. I needed to call the hostel to see about making arrangements and the ony reception I had was on Hogback and Little Hogback Mountains.
- After I cooked supper tonight I was completely out of food and water. My body is consuming food at a rapid rate now.
- At the end of the day, I was only 2.8 miles from the northern boundary of the SNP. I will get up very early and head into the Front Royal Hostel, where the owner will slack me north to mile 978.8 (VA 638) and I'll hike back to his place. Heavy rain is on the way and It would be nice have a place to dry out and make some miles without a heavy pack. My resupply box is waiting for me there.
Lessons learned/confirmed today:
- Kinetic energy is porportional to speed squared. If you double your speed, you must increase your food intake by a factor of four to keep going! My speed has increased from 2.0 miles an hour to nearly 3.0 miles an hour since the start of my thru-hike. That means I must increase my caloric intake by a factor of 2.25! Even a modest increase from 2.0mph to 2.5mph translates to an energy increase of 60%! No wonder I'm shoveling in food any chance I can get. Also, it's no wonder that my resting periods have dramatically increased. Perhaps hiking slower but longer is the way to go. Work (energy) is porportional to the distance traveled, which has much less effect than speed. Hum...
Droid Phone Notes: I charged the phone at the Wayside to 93%. At night, the nPower PEG's LED was still red. I'm dying to test the theory that fully draining the PEG will reset its firmware and make the unit charge properly. I don't know how I feel about the juxtaposition of being in the wilderness with technology, but I think it suits me as long as my technology is used as a tool and doesn't supplant my experience with the natural world.